Stellenbosch, a bustling town in South Africa’s Western Cape, has taken a proactive step towards enhancing security in its central business district (CBD). In a joint effort by the Stellenbosch Municipality, the police, several private security companies, and the non-profit Winelands Safety Initiative (WSI), a groundbreaking informal car guard project has been launched. This initiative aims to address the issues posed by informal parking attendants who have been known to harass and exploit visitors in the area.
Promoting Safety Through Vigilance
A total of 40 individuals, carefully vetted for criminal records, have been selected to serve as car guards in the Stellenbosch CBD. These guards will not only assist motorists with parking but will also actively monitor their designated areas for any suspicious activities. In the event of an incident, they will promptly report it to the municipal operation control center and the participating security firms, ABC and AM Security.
To ensure their visibility and role clarity, each car guard will be provided with reflective bibs branded with the logos of WSI, the municipality, and Visit Stellenbosch, the official tourism office. The words “parking attendant” will be prominently displayed on the back of each bib, along with a dedicated number for contacting the municipal control room.
Community Involvement and Empowerment
This innovative project emphasizes community involvement and empowerment. The majority of the car guards have been recruited from Kayamandi, a local township, with additional participants from the Stellenbosch Shelter and nearby street communities. The income of the car guards will primarily come from both motorists and local businesses.
To enhance their safety and reduce the risk of robberies, WSI is providing assistance to the car guards in downloading bank apps on their cellphones for conducting cashless transactions. This serves as an alternative to traditional cash payments.
Furthermore, the security companies involved in this project are actively considering potential employment opportunities for those car guards who perform exceptionally well, aiming to provide a pathway to sustainable employment.
A Collaborative Approach Towards Security
This groundbreaking project exemplifies a collaborative effort to address security challenges, improve visitor experiences, and uplift the Stellenbosch community. Stuart Grobbelaar, the Stellenbosch Municipality communications manager, highlights the importance of enhancing the professionalism and effectiveness of informal parking attendants. He states, “By creating a secure and welcoming environment for all, this initiative aims to foster a stronger sense of security and enhance the overall visitor experience.”
This informal car guard initiative is poised to make a significant impact on improving safety in the Stellenbosch CBD. Empowering the local community, enhancing professionalism, and promoting collaboration between various stakeholders are key pillars on which this project stands. As the car guards take on their roles, Stellenbosch residents and visitors can look forward to a safer and more secure CBD.
For more information on this initiative, please visit the official website of the Stellenbosch Municipality.
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